Inspired

Researchers Unearth Prehistoric Golden Ritual Bowl With Sun Motif Dating From 1000 BC

TIMEDecember 22, 2021

A prehistoric settlement located in Ebreichsdorf, Austria, 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) south of Vienna, has yielded an archeological discovery of a lifetime—an extraordinarily rare golden bowl with a sun motif was found in what was once likely a place of worship near a swamp some three millennia ago.

The culture who once kept this bowl are known for the urn fields they left behind related to their cremation funeral rites, and lived in the Middle to Late Bronze Age, the researchers said. The golden bowl, found shallowly buried in a prehistoric dwelling, displays an intricate sunray decoration and is made of very thin sheet metal, believed to be composed of 90 percent gold, 5 percent silver, and 5 percent copper.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of ÖBB/Novetus)
Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of ÖBB/Novetus)

Contained in it were found two gold bracelets made of twisted wire, as well as two unusual lumps of organic material, most likely made of either fabric or leather, with gold wire inside and golden thread weaving. These lumps are believed to have once possibly been ceremonial garments used during religious ceremonies that involved worshipping the sun.

“This is the discovery of a lifetime for me,” said head of the excavation Polish archeologist Dr. Michał Sip. Researchers concur that it could be one of the most important archeological findings in Austria in the last several decades.

The golden bowl is the first of its kind unearthed in Austria and one of just two found east of the Alpine Line; just over 30 such bowls have been discovered in all of Europe, making this latest all the more remarkable and important.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of ÖBB/Novetus)
Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of ÖBB/Novetus)

Also found at the site were nearly 500 bronze objects, including pins, daggers, and knives, which were not damaged, leading archeologists to believe they were deposited as part of religious rituals. Also extracted were an assortment of ceramic clay vessels, shells, and animal bones weighing hundreds of kilograms. It’s believed that the objects, found some 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) underground, were dropped in what was at the time a swamp.

“During the settlement’s existence, it could have been a swamp, or the [water] course could have been partially filled seasonally. In it, over a distance of several hundred meters, we have already excavated almost five hundred bronze objects,” Sip said. “If it were a river, they would all be at the bottom, in one zone.”

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of ÖBB/Novetus)
Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of ÖBB/Novetus)
Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of ÖBB/Novetus)

The remains of the prehistoric settlement existed during the period 1300–1000 B.C. and stretch several hundred meters, along both north-south and east-west axes. The excavation was commenced in 2019 ahead of the construction of the railway station planned in upcoming years; the bowl’s discovery in 2020 was withheld from release until further testing was completed. Yet the volume of artifacts yielded and the extent of the prehistoric settlement promise considerable potential for future discovery.

“It may be possible to implement a research project with the participation of one of the universities,” Sip expressed with high hopes.

The excavation was conducted by Novetus Archaeological Services and commissioned and financed by the Austrian Federal Railway (ÖBB).

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Michael Wing
Editor and Writer
Michael Wing is a writer and editor based in Calgary, Canada, where he was born and educated in the arts. He writes mainly on culture, human interest, and trending news.